WOA Churches Prepare for Christmas Retreats Focused Christ: the Light that Shines in the Darkness

With Christmas coming closer, World Olivet Assembly (WOA) churches around the world are preparing for the annual Christmas retreats. The gatherings provide an opportunity for participants to study the Word of God together and reflect more deeply on the meaning of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ whom the Gospel of John describes as "the true light that gives light to everyone." (John 1:9a)

Amid the ongoing pandemic that has brought renewed uncertainty and suffering, many people feel like left in the darkness with no clear end in sight and nothing to hold onto. Many people feel isolated and while some might be able to gather with family, others will not be able to see their loved ones during this season, and others again may have lost family members or friend in recent months. It may not feel like a time of celebration for most, yet Christmas stands for the hope in the midst of darkness.

Even thought the context may have been different two thousand years ago, the people of Israel were finding themselves in suffering and difficulty as well. They were under Roman rule for decades and had not heard any prophet speak for centuries. Surely, they must have felt like in darkness with no clear hope to hold onto.

Yet, the Apostle John describes Jesus Christ as the life and the light that is stronger than any darkness. "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5)

Christ came into this world to bring hope to the hopeless and new life to those in despair. As John continues to say: "to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13)

May Christ be the center of this Christmas and may he be our light that shines in the darkness. And may we live as the children of God who are a light to others around us who may yet need to hear about the only true hope and new life offered to us in Christ.